I don't have time
Updated: Oct 11, 2019
We’ve all heard or said “I don’t have time” from/to one of our our colleagues, friends, families, etc.
I’ve been guilty of saying that especially when I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders, and I’ve got a ton of work to get done at my job. Typically, this statement comes out when I feel like the volume of my work is too high, and I think all of the work I have to get done is timely.
Ultimately, I’m falling into what I like to call the excuse trap and saying I don’t have them time when it’s really…I’m having trouble prioritizing what’s most important, and instead of figuring out what’s the highest priority, I go into a manic craze and make attempts to check everything off the list. It usually ends up in me spending hours on hours on hours at work, so I can cross things off my list. I find that this process becomes too focused on getting the tasks completed and doesn’t help in allowing me to see the bigger picture in my work.
As you become more senior in your work, prioritization is necessary. It’s not about checking items off a list and feeling relieved. There are moments when you need to assess what needs to get done, and what can you push out until later in the day, the week, or maybe event the month. Are there projects that aren’t timely?
These thoughts really began to resonate with me about a few months ago at my job. I was telling one of my coworkers, I didn’t have the time to fully explain a situation to another one of my colleagues because of the volume of other tasks I was handling. At the time, I felt like I was in a similar state as described above. He responded to me and said something along the lines of “don’t say you don’t have time, you’re not making the time…”
I was slightly taken aback by his response simply because I see myself as someone who works hard and puts time and effort into all aspects of my job. I was implying his comment was a shot to my work ethic, which it wasn’t at all. Instead, all he was saying (literally) was that I didn’t make the time to explain the situation, and I held other items with more importance since I felt the need the need to get those things done. It was at that point where I had a Come to Jesus moment and realized I wasn’t making time for certain things. It wasn’t that I didn’t have time. The onus was on me. I was the one responsible for not making the time to explain the situation. It was my responsibility, and in this case, I wasn’t appropriately prioritizing.
Moving forward, when I find myself in moments of intense work volume, I try to refute the ole response, “I don’t have time,” with a question and ask myself “have you not made time, why didn’t you make time, and can you make time?” I also try to outline expectations with my coworkers ahead of time, so they approximately know when I will get them a deliverable, complete a task, or project for them.